Kennedy Brothers made '60s stop
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following article from the Ellsworth Record of March 31, 1960, was submitted for publication in the Herald by the Pierce County Historical Association on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of a campaign stop by John and Robert Kennedy in this area.
Youthful and energetic Sen. John Kennedy made a strong plea for his bid for Democratic nomination for President of the United States when he spoke here Tuesday noon.
An overflow crowd packed the dining hall of the Methodist church to hear the Massachusetts senator speak briefly on some of the issues facing the nation today. Several persons had to be turned away because of limited seating.
Kennedy started off his remarks by saying he hoped people wouldn't vote for a candidate just because he was from a certain section of the nation or not vote for a candidate because he was from a certain section of the country.
He uttered these words in response to remarks made previously that he is an easterner and shouldn't have the support of Midwest voters. He went on to say that the outcome of Wisconsin's presidential primary could very well have effect on the voting of the other states in the nation.
While he doesn't think the presidential primaries are the best way of nominating candidates, he said it was better to let the people choose than to let a handful of political strategists choose a man. Kennedy said he would rather take his chances for nomination by being entered in a public election.
He had high words of praise for Sen. Humphrey, who is opposing him on the Wisconsin April ballot. He said that, if Humphrey gets the nomination at the Democratic convention, he will support him for the presidency and that he was not going to debate any more with Humphrey. He went on to say that he was not running against anyone, but is concerned about the many problems facing the nation today. He very emphatically reiterated that stand in his closing remarks.
He gave some comparative figures on economic growth of the United States against other major nations of the world and revealed that our growth has been at a low rate during recent years.
Following his brief talk, he answered questions from the audience. One of his questioners asked if he believes in farm subsidies. Not making a direct answer, Kennedy said it would be disastrous to the economy of American agriculture if all subsidies and supports were removed from agriculture.
He stated that the United States could well be using some of its food surpluses to combat Communism in the world today. He compared the cost of our defense program to that of our agricultural programs. He added that defense costs amount to $42 million per year and is "down the drain." He continued by saying the giving of surplus food stuffs to poor nations would have a better effect in creating world peace and cost less than the present arms race.
Kennedy's local visit was arranged by William S. Quinn, who is a delegate candidate for him in the Ninth Congressional District. Mayor Ivan Nestingen of Madison was in Kennedy's party and introduced the senator. Several press and TV personnel were following Kennedy's trail Tuesday and pictures for TV news were taken during the luncheon.
Robert Kennedy, brother of presidential aspirant John Kennedy, was in Ellsworth Wednesday of last week, speaking to high school students in the afternoon and to a meeting of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce in the evening at St. Francis School hall.
After having given eight talks during the day, Kennedy went to the house of Wallace Mehlberg at Martell for a rest before dining here in the evening.
Most of Kennedy's remarks were confined to his works as counsel with the Senate Rackets Committee, but he did casually mention that he had a brother who was seeking the office of President of the United States.
He said his main interest in his tour was to sell his book, "Enemy from Within," in which he has written about corruptness by labor unions. He went on to say, "I hope when my brother visits here, he will be selling my book, too."
From here, Kennedy went to River Falls to speak to a group of Democratic college students and then on to The Virginian Supper Club for a reception...